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This is a very obscure Italian giallo that I'd previous only heard of
via the trailer in "42nd Street Forever" (a trailer that made it look
like a police action film as I recall!). This is actually an
old-fashioned giallo. Marisa Mell is a young woman who comes to Rome
and soon drifts into de facto prostitution in order to survive. She
meets a misanthropic doctor and would-be poet(Farley Granger), but soon
falls in love with another man. Murder ensues and she soon finds
herself being blackmailed, sexually and financially, by her husband's
shady driver, who saw something he shouldn't have.
This movie has a rather unusual narrative structure time-wise that jumps back and forth through time (often without much warning), which might confuse some viewers, but for me it made this rather pedestrian story much more interesting. The movie also has a truly tragic tone to it and a social commentary (both the wife and the blackmailing driver bring about their own downfall in an effort to become privileged bourgeosie)not usually found giallo thrillers. The ending is a little weak, but up until then it's a good movie.
Marisa Mell is considered a top-tier Eurobabe today (although she died penniless in the early 80's). And Helga Line, another ubiquitous "sexy" actress of the era, has a supporting role as her best female friend and confidante (and there are nude scenes all around, of course). The English-language title "Death Will Have Your Eyes" (after one of the husband's cheerful efforts at poetry) is actually much better than the Italian title for a change. This is worth checking out.
"Death Will Have Your Eyes" begins with a woman disposing of a body by
pushing a car over a cliff. The scene shifts to a large villa. Inside
is a disheveled Marisa Mell who calls her friend, Helga Line, and
speaks of being lonely and wondering whether her "freedom" was worth
it. Then she says goodbye, which Helga can't understand, hangs up,
shuffles to the gas line and opens it to breathe in the air, while
tears roll from her eyes. A flashback begins and occupies the movie,
telling the story of how Mell came to this pass.
Classified as a giallo or semi-giallo, I consider it as a giallo-noir, as the story is noir all the way. Being done in the 70s, it's in color and it has a different tone than earlier noirs. Being an Italian production also touches it in various ways. For example, the music is by Stelvio Cipriani, a master of mood music in film. For another thing, the script adeptly brings in the classes of the characters and their aspirations. The Italian divide between poor and rich comes through in the story. Mell has very little when she goes to the city. Francisco Rabal, appearing later as someone who saw the car being pushed into the ocean, is a rough lower-class man who very simply wants money and despises the better off. Mell marries an effete and apparently impotent rich man, played by Farley Granger, who wants her for a front. Unhappy in this marriage, even with all her wealth, Mell has a lover, Riccardo Salvino, who is a doctor. His bourgeois character will eventually be revealed. Mell has one fiery scene in which she turns on Rabal, even though he comes from a poverty-stricken background like her. She is the mirror reflecting disillusionment with all three men she has interacted with (Granger, Salvino and Rabal).
Despite the relative simplicity of the story, it is suspenseful and holds one's interest. The three main players are all very professional. Mell shows she has acting chops, not just a body or an exotic face. Rabal is typically strong. I recommend this movie highly. I'd give it 7.5.
The available print is not very good, however. I can imagine and sometimes see that color was put to good use as an artistic complement, but really a restoration is needed in order to appreciate that aspect of the film, and it's a non-trivial aspect.
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